As a suite of products, including SAP SRM, CRM and SCM, SAP S/4 HANA is a truly complete solution, and for many organisations is a significant step in their overall business transformation and business modernisation projects. It also offers organisations significant benefits in line with the goal of most digital transformation exercises; the same IDC study found that SAP S/4HANA improves employee productivity, and helps to reduce costs3.
But many organisations also realise that they need to modernise their IT to capitalise on these digital transformation opportunities. This is especially true of databases, where organisations are often heavily reliant on legacy systems. As reported in Forbes, technology decision makers are planning on spending more of their incremental dollars on modernising IT – 55 per cent – than they are on the digital initiatives themselves – 45 per cent.
In other words, capitalising on SAP S/4HANA will also mean a hardware modernisation project for many organisations.
When SAP S/4HANA works best
Organisations looking to leverage the capabilities of SAP S/4HANA users will need to make the appropriate hardware and technology investments for themselves. There are three particularly critical hardware elements to a successful SAP S/4HANA deployment:
Memory: All master and transactional data is kept in the main memory in SAP HANA, making memory the single most important consideration for hardware to manage a deployment. The more high-quality memory within the hardware, the more data can be managed, and the more reliable this critical data will be.
CPU: SAP HANA also requires a sufficiently powerful CPU in order to maximise the response times for analytical applications. Remember, one of the principle guiding reasons to invest in SAP S/4HANA is to improve productivity and efficiency by leveraging its automation capabilities – so the CPU will be heavily leveraged frequently.
In fact, SAP HANA has heavier CPU requirements than standard database tools, so many organisations will find themselves in need of an upgrade here to run their new SAP S/4HANA deployment.
Disk size: SAP S/4HANA has a function that it will store a full image of all business data to preserve the integrity of the database in the event of a system shutdown. At minimum, therefore, the SAP S/4HANA environment needs disc space sufficient to store that image.
Solutions for SAP S/4HANA also need to be scalable, as the organisation’s data needs grow. Developing a cohesive vision around scalability from the outset minimises future compatibility issues. Lenovo’s Lenovo Scalable Solution for SAP HANA places particular emphasis on these requirements within its hardware.
Additionally, Lenovo offers customers comprehensive ongoing maintenance, 24/7 monitoring and management. “As business processes become more automated and customer engagement expands to include new channels such as mobile business apps, the amount of data that organizations need to process in real-time to make critical business decisions is exploding,” Kamran Amini, general manager, Servers and Storage, Lenovo, said at the release of Lenovo Scalable Solution for SAP HANA4.
How to ensure a smooth SAP S/4HANA deployment
SAP S/4HANA deployments likely require new skills to be brought into the organisation. According to the IDC study, 80 per cent of companies currently planning a transition to SAP S/4HANA understand that they need to offer their employees seminars and training courses to get them up to speed5. This is why it’s so important to partner with an organisation with expertise and a heritage in successful SAP S/4HANA deployments; their role in helping employees acclimatise themselves to the new user experience is an important part of the transition.
In addition to retraining system architects, data modellers and the like, SAP S/4HANA also offers new opportunities beyond pure data modelling, and many organisations would find value in bringing in a SAP HANA developer who can leverage the different capabilities of SAP HANA (SQLScript, Business Function Library, and so on), to further customise the SAP S/4HANA environment to competitive advantage.
Business leaders recognise that SAP S/4HANA offers productivity and efficiency gains that can become a significant competitive advantage. As part of a broader business transformation strategy, the adoption of SAP S/4HANA is also an opportunity to upgrade aging hardware, and establish a scalable solution that will last them long into the future.
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